LIVE WELL: Antidotes to gluttonous behavior

Photo by

Four employees at the Colorado State Patrol's Pueblo dispatch center have been disciplined over a delay in sending a trooper to a collision with a deer on Interstate 25 late last year that was followed by a second, fatal crash.

On Dec. 17, about 1:30 a.m., a southbound Mazda on Interstate 25 near Fountain stalled after hitting a deer, and a call-taker at the Pueblo dispatch center entered the information into its computer-aided dispatch system. The dispatcher responsible for routing the information to the nearest trooper was watching a movie on a personal laptop with another dispatcher.

A trooper was not dispatched to the scene until 9 minutes later.

About 10 minutes after the initial crash, Heather Clinton, driving south in a Ford Explorer, swerved left to avoid the Mazda and rolled onto the grassy median.

Clinton, 20, of San Manuel, Ariz., died at the scene. Her passenger,  22-year-old Earl Clinton of San Manuel, was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

The call-taker, two dispatchers watching the movie and a supervisor have all been disciplined, said Sgt. John Hahn, State Patrol spokesman. He would not identify the employees disciplined or specify what administrative action was taken.

The department's internal affairs unit conducted the investigation with help from the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Days after the crash, Chief Jim Wolfinbarger implemented new policies at the patrol's five regional dispatch centers to ensure distractions don't lead to delayed responses.